Holy shitballs. Arrival is certainly not your typical alien flick. If you want to see explosive gunfights and aliens tearing humans to pieces, then rethink this one and just watch Alien again. That’s not to say that Arrival is lacking in gunfire and explosions, but it is really something unexpected. It is science fiction for the “thinking” person.
Dr Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is one of the best linguists in North America, and when 12 mysterious alien craft touch down across the globe, she is brought in to attempt to communicate with the aliens. However, it’s not the threat of invasion that Banks races against the clock to prevent; it’s the threat of global war.
Visually, the film takes you on a journey that you experience alongside Banks and theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner). Everything is experienced with them, from the stomach-dropping trip as they approach the craft, to the panicked moments as the squid-like alien creatures come towards the glass for the first time.
The sound creates an eerie and uneasy atmosphere, a mixture of whale calls, alien Heptapodese language, mysterious music and nothingness. The screenwriting is brilliant; the story, while complicated and non-linear, is told powerfully through all filmmaking elements.
Arrival is an intelligent and poetic telling of first contact with life unlike our own. Reflection is required as the credits roll. Mind = blown.